By Sulayman Bah
The Gambian domestic premier league has seen it all; from strikers who’re late boomers, the skill-lacking but yet proven goal-getters to the ruthless, dribble-machine net-bangers but never got lucky enough to cut their teeth in the European game.
The latter top priority of this write up as Foroyaa Sport takes a dive into the depths of domestic football data.
PA AMADOU GAI: Seasoned watchers of the Gambian league will nod in agreement he was a magic-maker, epitome of true definition of a modern-day striker. With a career spanning in 1999, his type came rather rarely. The nation’s squad is often spoilt for choice on strikers majority of whom ply abroad. Daddy Gai, however, despite being a local-based, always caused Scorpions coaches some head scratching over their choices. Physically built, good first-touch ball control, unquestionable commitment and self-belief, he was that type who coaches won’t risking hauling off even if he were firing blanks owing to his sometimes indescribable aptitude to turn a tie or nestle to the back of the net any time in a game. Gaffer Kebba Touray, during days he occupied Bakau United’s managerial helm, could better tell of this. Gai has featured in all youth levels for Gambia and for the senior scorpions in 2003 including scooping the league’s golden boot on five occasions, but wouldn’t just get lucky to turn professional. Countless European clubs have watched him audition and marvelled at what he offered to the table but niggling injuries, homesickness always stood in his way of inking a deal.
Evidence of this was his two-year-deal with Canada side Montreal Impact in 2009. Matters went well amid initial sigh of relief Daddy’s promising career has finally ticked off. Then fate dealt him different cards. Pa Amadou packed his bags to return to Gambia disenchanted but this time without the usual injury stories that dogged his every visit of a club abroad. From our investigations, it turned the goal-assassin got fed up of his employers’ failure to cater for his bills.
By this time, he had felt the urge to try out in the Senegalese championship where he signed for ASC Helm in 2010. Trial in Kuwait later followed. The towering front-man is of similar generation with the likes of Edrissa Sonko and Mustapha Kamal Nd’aw.
Faint minds attributing his stall to superstition aside, Pa Amadou, now 35 years, will be remembered as one of those gifted ‘ballers’ whose talent failed to live up to its promise.
MODOU NJIE-SARR: Hailing from a football family, his journey to the game, it is safe to say, isn’t a fluke. The Banjul-born was beginning to get his craft together when the likes of Nyassi brothers Sainey and Sanna, Alagie Bun Gaye, Alagie Fatajo, Pa Modou Jagne and Abdourahman Dampha were making waves at Gambia Ports Authority. After winning the FA Cup in 2009 with the Ferry Boys, he switched to Gamtel under the purview of Tapha Manneh where he partnered Ali Sowe and Assan Ceesay -now regulars for the national team – tasting Caf football with the telecom giants.
He followed his dad Alagie Sarr who was made coach of Real de Banjul in 2012 in a move changing his destiny sort of and paving way for his inclusion into history, as one of few strikers to score 15 goals of recent, clutching the golden boot and the league title in the process that term.
Twelve months before, he formed part of Gambia U-20 side jettisoned out of the Caf Youth Champion in South Africa in the group stages. Returning back with Ports, Sarr is a direct player and a neat finisher.
The summer he won the golden boot on 15 goals, he would join an Omani club and was believed to be courting overtures from an unnamed Qatari outfit prior to returning to the country after months in Muscrat. Majority argue he would have headed for either Bulgaria if Real de Banjul had that much wide network in the football market then.
MUSTAPHA DRAMMEH: Tradition has it leading goal scorers in the league come from the top-three performing clubs until Bombada broke that duck in the form of Mustapha Drammeh.
Drammeh netted twenty goals in the 2017 season despite Bombada finishing ninth that campaign, rightfully getting a place in the gold-clinching Wafu U-20 outfit in Liberia.
Glo Sports marketing agency, headlined by Hatib Janneh, secured him a trial spot for the youngster with French Ligue 1 side Stade Rennaise but Drammeh ran away to Belgium before getting to audition in Tunisia months later via Senegal. Mustapha’s talent promises a lot.